Thursday, June 30, 2011

Nothing Lasts Forever

When I walked outside for my run this morning, I was met with the sun shining perfectly through the clouds. I figured out how to upload video from my ipod so I thought I would share. I Love taking in little moments like that because I know they don't last long. So many special things in life seem to pass so quickly and then we can only look back fondly and try to remember how they made us feel.

(It was more impressive in person!)
I've been running for a LONG time. And I've been running marathons for the past 11 years. People often ask if I'm worried about the toll it takes on my body. For the most part, I've been remarkably injury free and I try to convince people that research has shown running has very few detrimental effects on the body if you're doing it right. Injury is always a possibility, but running generally does you much more good than harm.

For years, I've thought about what would happen if I couldn't run anymore and I've come to the conclusion that I would be okay. I have enough other interests in my life that I don't depend solely on running to keep me sane or entertained. I would miss it, sure. But I would be okay.

I also know that at some point, I'll start slowing down. So far, I've been able to improve my times if I work and train and I haven't noticed any significant decline in my performance due to age. But I know it's coming. I know there will be a day when I'm an old man jogging through a 5K and feeling a twinge of jealousy over the young guys cranking out the times that I can no longer reach.

Today, I went for my scheduled 4 Miles on my 'Old Town Eureka Loop' and I passed the same old man from last week that told me not to break the speed limit. Today, I was running up the 'Days Inn Hill' as he was walking down. He smiled and waved again and said, "Come on now, get on up there!"

Here's this old man with pure white hair, green gym shorts, his white socks pulled up high on his calves, and a gym towel thrown over his shoulder... pumping his arms as he walk/limps down the hill... sharing some encouraging words while I'm huffing and puffing up that same hill. All I can think is, "That's going to be me someday."

I don't think I'll ever stop moving. I might not always be able to run, but I'll always be doing something. For now, I'll try to enjoy these moments while they last!

Goal For The Day: Middle Distance
Distance: 4.00 Miles
Time: 28:58. 7:14 Avg. (7:25, 7:15, 6:57, 7:19)
Route: Old Town Eureka Loop.
Conditions: 72 degrees. 7:30AM.

Notes: The pace felt a little better today. My right foot is bothering me a little. I'll have to keep an eye on it. Ironic considering today's post. The last mile of this loop is always slow. I guess the hills on the way back get to me. I had to add a bit at the end to make it an even 4 Miles. The clouds lasted long enough to shoot the video but then it was sunny and humid for the run. 70 degrees when I left the house. 75 degrees when I got back. It's going to be a hot weekend. I'll try to get to the track early tomorrow to avoid some of the heat.

Daily Miles: 4.00 Miles.
Blog Totals:
  Run - 53.89 Miles.
  Bike - 30.11 Miles.
  Swim - 2,700 meters.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Stepping Down

More speedwork today. I got a bit of a late start getting to the track this morning. The kids were out for there workout by the time I finished my warm-up mile. The coach was kind enough to give me the inside lane so we weren't in each other's way.

Today was a 'step-down' workout. I ran intervals that decreased in distance but increased in pace as the workout went on. At first, these workouts don't seem too tough, but sprinting the last couple of intervals is harding than you'd think because the longer, slower intervals have taken a toll on your legs. I was definitely beat by the last two intervals.
Goal For The Day: Speedwork
Distance: 5.00 Miles.
Time: 2 x 1200m (4:15, 4:17), 2 x 800m (2:44, 2:47), 2 x 400m (1:13, 1:16)
Route: Eureka H.S. Track
Conditions: 73 degrees. 7:45AM.

Notes: 1 Mile warm-up and 1 Mile cool-down. Goals were: 1200's in 4:20, 800's in 2:45, 400's in 1:10. The 400m goal might have been a bit ambitious. I didn't have much left by the last one. I ran the first two intervals too fast and the last three a little too slow. Not exactly how it's supposed to be done, but a good workout.

Daily Miles: 5.00 Miles.
Blog Totals:
  Run - 49.89 Miles.
  Bike - 30.11 Miles.
  Swim - 2,700 meters.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Natural Order of Things

The triathlon is set up so you complete the events in order from most, to least dangerous. On the swim, you're physically exerting yourself in an environment that makes it difficult to breathe. Stopping to rest is not an easy task in the water. And it's the only part of the triathlon in which you're likely to get punched and kicked mercilessly.

After the swim, you hop on the bike. Breathing is easier but you're now suspended on two thin tires and taking a spill is likely to hurt more than if you trip on your run.

And finally, you finish up with a nice, safe run to the finish. (Assuming you can still move your legs.)

Today was a great reminder of how nice this order of events is. Tuesday is our 'Swim' day so it was off to the Fenton Rec Center again. I went straight from work and got in my 4 Miles on the treadmill before meeting Liz for the swim.

This is the third week in a row that I've run before hitting the pool and I've realized that it just plain makes swimming harder. I'm for sure slower on these days and my arms just feel semi-useless in the water. At least I was breathing comfortably today, but my lower body was sinking and I was slapping my way down the lane feeling sluggish.

I feel good about getting both workouts in tonight, but I'm very thankful that we'll be starting with the swim on Race Day!

Goal For The Day #1: Middle Distance
Distance: 4.00 Miles.
Time: 27:26. 6:51 Avg. (7:13, 6:58, 6:44, 6:31)
Route: Fenton Rec Center Treadmill
Conditions: Sweaty. Blah.

Goal For The Day #2: Swim
Distance: 750 meters. (3 x 250)
Location: Fenton Rec Center Indoor Pool.

Notes: Negative splits on the run and at a better pace. Felt really good! Breathing was smooth and easy in the pool today but my arms were tired and my butt kept wanting to sink. Felt slow after my run.

Daily Miles: 4.00 Miles.
Daily Swim: 750 meters.
Blog Totals:
  Run - 44.89 Miles.
  Bike - 30.11 Miles.
  Swim - 2,700 meters.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Brick by Brick

The triathlon is less than two weeks away so we're in the tapering portion of Liz's training schedule. I'm mixing my marathon training with the tri training so I won't taper as much until later next week. But today called for a brick workout. Basically, a brick workout is any workout in tri training that involves the combination of two activities. Liz and I generally refer to bricks as a bike followed by a run.

Today's goal was a 38 minute bike ride followed by a 20 minute run. We've been doing a lot of training around Eureka which is riddled with hills but our race course for this particular tri is going to be pretty flat. So we loaded up the bikes and made the short drive to Route 66 State Park to do today's brick on flat land.

The temperature was in the low 80's but it was SUPER humid so I was sweating before I even got the bikes off of the car. It was one of those nights where the air just feels wet.

Even with the nasty humidity, this week's brick was a huge improvement over our brick from two weeks ago. The flat course helped, but Liz is getting much faster as her training progresses.

I'll probably talk more about this later, but sometimes the best thing about gutting out a hard workout is when you get to stop. After a refreshing shower, relaxing on the couch in our air conditioned house felt SWEET!

Goal For The Day: Brick Workout
Distance: Bike- 8.38 Miles. Run - 2.17 Miles.
Time: Bike - 38:07. 13.2 mph avg. Run - 20:03. 9:14 avg.
Route: Laps around Route 66 State Park.
Conditions: 82 degrees/SUPER humid. 6:20PM.

Notes: Two weeks ago: 8.53M Bike, 45:58, 11.1 mph avg. Today: 8.38M Bike, 38:07, 13.2 mph avg. Feeling good about the tri in a couple of weeks!

Daily Miles: Bike - 8.38 Miles. Run - 2.17 Miles
Blog Totals:
  Run - 40.89 Miles.
  Bike - 30.11 Miles.
  Swim - 1,950 meters.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Doubling Up

I've worked out the outline for my entire training schedule and today called for 8 miles as my Long Run. I ran down to Route 66 State Park, circled one lap around the park, and ran home. It was a really humid morning and the air felt thick. At least there was some occassional light rain to cool me off. I tried to keep a good pace but apparently I was running a little slower than I felt. I was thankful to have my i-pod to turn on for the last 4 miles.
With the triathlon coming up, today also called for a swim so Liz and I caught an early movie and then hit the Rec Center for an afternoon swim. The pool was mostly empty (maybe from the morning rain) and we were able to swim our laps outside. We swam the full 1,000 meters that we'll face at the tri in 200 meter chunks with short breaks in between. We're still new to swimming so we kept an eye on the clock to figure out how long we can expect to be in the water on Race Day. After today, I'm confident we can cover the swim in less than 30 minutes. I have no idea if that's good or not, but it gives us an estimate of what we'll be in for.

Goal For The Day: Long Run
Distance: 8.38 Miles.
Time: 1:00:17. 7:12 avg. (7:26, 7:07, 7:15, 7:17, 6:52, 7:02, 6:56, 7:38, 2:38*)
Route: Run around Eureka. (To Rte. 66/One lap/Home).
Conditions: 72 degrees. Humid. Some light rain.

Notes: Not bad, but not feeling the pace I want yet. Black Eyed Peas helped!

Goal For The Day: Swim
Distance: 1,000 meters. (5 x 200m)
Location: Fenton Rec Center Outdoor Pool.

Notes: Liz's stomach was bothering her but she still cranked out the full distance! It was good practice for race day covering the race distance. Now we'll just have to cut out the breaks and do it in open water.

Daily Miles: Run - 8.38 Miles. Swim - 1,000 meters.
Blog Totals:
  Run - 38.72 Miles.
  Bike - 21.73 Miles.
  Swim - 1,950 meters.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Ride MUST Go On!

Normally, I plan to schedule Saturdays as days off from training or I might mix in some cross training. But the triathlon is only two weeks away and Liz's schedule peaks this week with a 2 hour bike ride. Unfortunately, my bike is in the shop with the hopes that they'll find the source of the creaking noise that's been driving me crazy. I didn't want to skip the ride so I grabbed the blue junker bike I had in the basement, put some air in the tires, and took off with Liz for a ride around Eureka.
This beauty pre-dates quick-release so I got out the wrenches and raised the seat as high as it would go but I was still feeling a little too tall for the old girl. To make matters worse, the seat slowly dropped as the ride went on so I sat lower and lower the further we rode.

Eureka is a hilly place so I was a little worried about keeping up with Liz going up some of the bigger hills. I definitely had to work harder than I do on my roadbike, but the uphills weren't as big of a problem as I expected. Instead, the downhills were a little unsettling. For some reason, I inherited this bike with a complete lack of front brakes. Oh, and the rear brakes don't work all that well. So I had to clamp down on the rear brakes going down big hills for fear of gaining too much speed and not being able to stop.

All things considered though, the ride went pretty well and it was a great reminder of how beautiful our little town is!

Goal For The Day: Long Ride
Distance: 21.73 Miles.
Time: 1:54:39. 11.4 mph avg.
Route: Ride around Eureka.
Conditions: 73 degrees/sunny when we left. 9:45AM.

Notes: Good ride but harder on the old junker. I think I slowed Liz down a couple of times. Two crazy experiences: 1)Liz almost ran over two live, small skunks that were coming out of the woods and were almost on the road. Startled us both! I"m not sure I've seen a live skunk before. Definitely not two and definitely not that close! 2)Saw an SUV with it's flashers on driving down the country road. As it got closer, we realized there wasn't anyone in the driver's seat. It took us a minute to realize it was the mail man driving the truck from the passenger side.

Daily Miles: 21.73 Miles
Blog Totals:
  Run - 30.34 Miles
  Bike - 21.73 Miles
  Swim - 950 meters

Friday, June 24, 2011

Self Image

I'm 31 years old but today I was reminded how much I still think of myself as basically the same person I was when I was a kid. I started running track in the 7th grade and I was bad. Really bad. Like... usually-finished-near-last-place bad. I had little-to-no athletic ability. Luckily, they didn't have tryouts for track. Everyone made the team and they didn't kick anyone off. I Loved it.

I wasn't just physically awkward though. I was socially awkward too. I was the nerdy, smart kid that played in the marching band. I was happy with who I was and I had some great friends, but I also got picked on a lot in middle school and never felt like I was one of the 'cool' kids.

Fast forward to this morning... I went to the local high school to run my Bannister repeats. I've noticed that the school is holding summer workouts for their athletes and they come out to the track to run drills in the morning. I'm usually mostly finished by the time the dozens of high school students take to the track, but today I still had a couple of intervals and a cool-down to run.

Today I caught myself wondering what they think of this old guy trying to sprint around the track. I wondered if they were mocking me. I realized I was assuming that I was being judged. When I was leaving, I passed one of the coaches and said, "Good morning." He said good morning back and told me, "The kids were impressed with that workout!" It caught me off guard and I stumbled through an awkward reply but tried to say thanks.

When I got to my car, I realized I was even questioning whether the coach was serious or if he was somehow making fun of me too. It hit me that, in my head, I'm still the kid finishing at the back of the pack in high school. I felt like the dorky old guy running laps while the younger, cool guys laughed under their breath. How sad is that? I've told people not to be intimidated by going to their local track for a workout. People tend to be very accepting of all speeds and skill levels and are generally really nice to each other at the track. So, why was I feeling self-conscious running while these kids were there? Apparently, it's hard to change your self-image.

I still find it uncomfortable when people talk about me as a 'good' runner. I know I'm relatively good and I'm proud of what I can do. I work hard to get better. But I still think of myself as that lanky, awkward kid. (Especially when I'm struggling to finish that last 400m interval and I feel like my limbs are flailing like noodles!)

Case in point: I made some new friends at the Minneapolis marathon this month and met two guys who have a great podcast about their development as runners. ( The way they talked about my running made me feel that same kind of uncomfortable. I have a LOT of experience running and I'm knowledgable when it comes to the marathon, but when other people talk about me as a good runner, I find myself wanting to downplay my accomplishments. It's something I'm struggling with... how to be more comfortable with compliments. I'll add that to my list of goals.

Goal For The Day: Bannister Repeats
Distance: 4.00 Miles.
Time: 8 x 400m (Goal of 1:15 each.). 2 minute breaks.
Route: Eureka H.S. Track.
Conditions: 69 degrees. 7:30AM.

Notes: 1 Mile warm-up. 8 x 400m (1:16, 1:14, 1:14, 1:14, 1:15, 1:16, 1:15, 1:15). 1 Mile cool-down. Wanted to stop after #6 but finished with a couple of quality intervals. Encouraging workout. Beautiful weather!

Daily Miles: 4.00 Miles
Blog Totals:
  Run - 30.34
  Swim - 950 meters

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I'm sometimes frustrated by my GPS watch. I think that's a good indication that I'm too spoiled when it comes to running gear. It's probably also an indication that I'm too numbers-focussed right now. I go through phases where I want to record every detail of my workouts so I can track my progress and learn what works and what doesn't. Then I go through phases where I just want to 'unplug' completely, leave the watch at home, and just go for a run because it's fun... not because I'm training. Right now, the numbers are keeping me motivated so I'm relying on my GPS watch to keep my stats for me.

I use a Garmin Forerunner 301 GPS watch. It's the second watch of this model that I've owned (one mysteriously disappeared several years ago), and for the most part, I really like it. It's a little bulky compared to the newest GPS watches, but it's far from intrusive. It tracks a TON of useful information and can be used for running or cycling. Of course, it relies on satellites so it's not as reliable on very cloudy days or in places with objects obstructing line-of-sight with the satellites (thick woods, large cities with tall buildings, etc.). Every now and then, it will be inaccurate for seemingly no reason.
Today is a Middle Distance day so I ran my usual 'Old Town Eureka' loop. It's almost exactly 4 Miles but my watch will read the exact same route as anywhere from 3.8 to 4.1 Miles depending on the day. That's a pretty wide variance for such a short route. After measuring the route several different ways in the past, I settled on the distance as 3.93 Miles. Today, my watch clocked it at 3.84 Miles and I even ran a little extra.

It makes it hard to trust the paces that are being reported during a run when you aren't sure about the distance. On routes I run repeatedly, I learn about where the miles are, so I can mentally adjust if the watch is a little off. But with new routes, I can only go by what the GPS is telling me.

Recent marathons have been especially frustrating. Tracking my pace is really important when I have to be careful about conserving energy while not falling too far behind my goal time. At the Olathe, KS marathon in April, my watch measured the course as 26.5 Miles instead of the standard 26.2. Earlier this month, I ran the Minneapolis marathon and the GPS measured the course as 26.34 Miles. In both races, my watch would beep to let me know I finished another mile before I actually reached the mile markers on the course. The longer I ran, the earlier the 'beep' came. It's hard to be 20 miles into a race and have your watch tell you you just reached 21 miles but the 21 mile marker is still a quarter-mile away.

I've used several methods of measuring training runs in the past: I've driven them ahead of time and used my car's odometer, I've used (where I log my workouts), and I've ridden my bike and used it's odometer. My Garmin is by far the easiest way to measure runs and provides the most feedback but it still isn't perfect.

Ultimately, I've decided to record whatever the Garmin reports and just ignore minor discrepancies between workouts. The only exception will be in races with pre-measured courses, in which case I'll ingore the distance my watch reports and go with the official race distance.

So, according to my watch, here are today's stats:

Goal For The Day: Middle Distance
Distance: 3.84 Miles.
Time: 28:47. 7:30 avg. (7:41, 7:25, 7:22, 6:17*).
Route: Old Town Eureka Loop.
Conditions: 68 degrees/breezy. 7:15AM.

Notes: Great weather but didn't feel like pushing it. A little fatigued from this week's workouts. Ran negative splits but they were all a little slower than I would like. I think GPS shorted me so paces might have been a little faster than reported. Beautiful weather!!!

Daily Miles: 3.84 Miles
Blog Totals:
  Run - 26.34 Miles
  Swim - 950 meters

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Breathing Easier

Here's how my schedule is set up for now:

Mondays - Rest or Brick Workout with Liz
Tuesdays - Middle Distance and Swim
Wednesdays - Speed Work
Thursdays - Middle Distance
Fridays - Speed Work
Saturdays - Rest or Cross Training
Sundays - Long Run

Today was Wednesday so it was time for some speed work. For now, I've decided to follow a speed work schedule created by Fleet Feet Sports. Fleet Feet is a local running store and they put on free speedwork sessions every summer. They're a great set of stores with knowledgable and friendly staff and I try to buy my shoes and gear from them when I can. They sponsor a lot of races around St. Louis and do a lot to promote running and healthy living. I'm a big fan!

The schedule is designed to improve your VO2Max which I understand to mean, it improves your ability to consume and process oxygen. This is an important key to improving endurance and overall athletic performance and the science behind VO2Max makes perfect sense to me. I don't understand how to design a speedwork schedule specifically designed to affect your VO2Max (it's all speedwork to me), so I'll go with the schedule created by people smarter than me. Here's an article that I found helpful for explaining VO2Max in terms I can understand:
So today's workout called for 6 x 800m repeats. I can feel my body processing oxygen more efficiently already!

Goal For The Day: Speed Work
Distance: 5.00 Miles.
Time: 6 x 800m (2:56, 2:54, 2:55, 2:55, 2:56, 2:53)
Route: Eureka H.S. Track
Conditions: 72 degrees/breezy! 7:00AM.

Notes: 1 Mile warm-up. 6 x 800m. 1 Mile cool-down. The goal was to run the 800's at 3k pace (5:52 per mile). So each 800m was supposed to be in 2:56. Still pretty consistent on the pacing. I'm amazed how little thought I have to put into the pacing changes. My first 'guess' is usually pretty accurate at this point.

Getting up for a morning workout after doing an evening workout the day before is tough! But today felt relatively easy after last week's 400's and with today's cooler weather.
Daily Miles: 5.00 Miles
Blog Totals:
  Run - 22.50 Miles
  Swim - 950 meters

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tread 'n' Water

New York is the long-term goal, but Liz and I are also training for a triathlon that's coming up in July. As of today, we're officially registered for the New Town triathlon on July 10th!

In 2009, we did a sprint triathlon that started with a pool swim. The New Town tri is a much longer race and the swim is in open water so it's a whole new challenge. We'll be swimming 1,000 meters, riding 20 miles, and running 4 miles. Liz set up a training plan and I'm tagging along for the rides and swims. Tuesdays we head to the Rec Center for a swim and I've been going straight from work to get in a few miles on the treadmill before meeting Liz for the swim.

I'm not a big fan of running indoors and I really don't like running on the treadmill. But the indoor track at the Rec Center is 9.5 laps for 1 mile and I can't keep count that well. And the treadmill at least helps with pacing goals. I just get tired faster on the treadmill. Partly because I get bored and partly because I always feel so hot and sweaty. There's no air movement to help keep you cool. Gyms should invest in LOTS of fans and crank up the AC! I got in 4 miles and ran negative splits but it felt harder than the same workout that I ran last week.
When Liz got to the gym we went to the indoor pool for our swim. We swam a 950 meter ladder workout. Liz TOTALLY swam faster than me today. My run might have taken something out of me, but she's really a stronger swimmer and looks really smooth the whole time where I feel like I get sloppy when I get tired. We're getting plenty of good swims in at the pool but our opportunities to practice in open water are limited. We're hoping to get some practice in at the Lake over the 4th of July.

Goal For The Day #1: Middle Distance
Distance: 4.00 Miles.
Time: 28:27. 7:06 avg. (7:30, 7:13, 6:58, 6:44)
Route: Fenton Rec Center Treadmill
Conditions: Indoors and stuffy.

Goal For The Day #2: Lap Swim
Distance: 950 meters. (150, 200, 250, 200, 150)
Location: Fenton Rec Center Indoor Pool

Notes: The run was fine but not as effortless as last week. Drenched in sweat. Gross. A quick shower and then to the pool with Liz. Breathing wasn't as smooth as it could be in the water. Liz led more than her share of the intervals because she was swimming faster and I didn't want to hold her up. She said she was feeling good and it showed! She's doing awesome in the water!

Daily Miles: 4.00 Miles
Daily Swim: 950 meters
Blog Totals:
  Run - 17.50 Miles
  Swim - 950 meters

Hot Run, Cold Shower

I had limited internet access yesterday so I'm a day late posting but I did get my make-up run in yesterday. I finally got a good night's sleep Sunday night and went out for a run Monday morning to make up for the Long Run I missed on Sunday. I was out the door at 7:45am and it was already 84 degrees and humid. VERY humid. I took the first mile easy and then tried to pick up the pace a little. It wasn't long before I realized this was going to be an 'off' day and I was feeling very sluggish. I decided not to push it and eased off the pace.

The heat was getting to me and the last mile was basically a jogging cool-down. On days like this, I walk in the door, ditch my shoes, and walk straight into the shower. I haven't gotten into the habit of taking ice baths, but I Love a long, cold shower after a hot run!
So, Sundays will usually be Long Run days, but I got my Long Run in for the week. I was SUPER proud of Liz for doing her long Brick workout last night. It was even hotter when she went and it would have been easy to skip it. I swear she's better about sticking to training schedules than I am! Tonight, we head to the gym for our swim and I'll try to get some miles in on the treadmill.

Goal For The Day: Long Run
Distance: 6.00 Miles
Time: 46:40. 7:46 avg. (7:51, 7:02, 7:23, 7:29, 7:51, 9:00)
Route: Kircher Park Loop
Conditions: 84 degrees/humid. 7:45AM.

Notes: GPS was set on 'bike' mode for the first mile. Fixed it after that. Not sure if that affects accuracy at all. Rough 6 miles.

Daily Miles: 6.00
Total Blog Miles: 13.50

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Snot Gonna Happen Today

Liz and I made a trip to the Lake of the Ozarks this weekend to celebrate Father's Day with her parents and my Mom and Rick. It was a great weekend full of boating and quality family time. Two days of perfect weather made for good times on the water but my nights were a little rough. My potential sinus infection (which I now think is some kind of head cold) continued to bother me all weekend and was especially annoying at night. I felt fine except for a nose that wouldn't stop running and increasing fatigue from a lack of sleep.

Ideally, I would like my Saturdays to be flexible in my training schedule. Saturdays could be used as a day off, a day of cross training, or an occasional race day. I planned for this Saturday to be a day off from running and to just enjoy a day at the lake.

I would like my Sundays to be reserved for my weekly Long Run. I had planned to get up early this morning (around 7:00ish) and get in an easy 6 miles. I was looking forward to running near the condo because any change of location is a welcome change of pace. Unfortunately, Saturday night was the worst night of sleep so far and I maybe got three hours of semi-restful sleep. I just couldn't breathe and tossed and turned. So when the alarm went off in the morning, I decided more time in bed was a better idea than being completely exhausted all day today. My Long Run will just have to be pushed back a day. So, after a weekend of used Kleenex, twice daily Neti Pot rinsing, and nightly NyQuil, I can say I'm feeling a lot better and have my fingers crossed for a good night's sleep. Hopefully, I'll be in better shape for a run in the morning!

Goal For The Day: Rest

Notes: An awesome day at the Lake of the Ozarks. No strenuous physical activity at all. In fact, a nice recovery nap on the boat!

Goal For The Day: Long Run

Notes: Very little sleep last night. Skipped today's run but hope to make it up tomorrow. Another nap on the boat and I was feeling better. MUCH less snot today so hopefully, I'm over the worst of it.

Total Blog Miles: 7.50

Friday, June 17, 2011

Borrowing From Bannister

I once ran a mile in 5 minutes and 9 seconds. It was my senior year of high school and for me, it was a huge achievement. I spent most of middle and high school track at the back of the pack and a 5:09 was faster than I thought I would ever run a mile. I've never run faster.

A couple of years ago, I ran some track races organized by the St. Louis Track Club and I was able to run the mile in 5:28 twice. I would like to think that if I really dedicated myself, I could break 5 minutes. So, while I'm focussing on speed, I might as well file a 5-minute mile away as a possible goal.

Sir Roger Bannister ran the first recorded mile in less than 4 minutes. Until he broke that barrier, a sub-4 mile was considered humanly impossible. Some people said that it would kill a man to run a mile under 4:00. Now, high school kids do it all the time and milers are running well under 4 minutes regularly.

The book "The Perfect Mile" tells the story of Bannister and two other men, John Landy and Wes Santee, as they all simultaneously struggled to be the first to turn four laps in under four minutes. It's an excellent book and an amazing story. I highly recommend it. A movie was made about Bannister and the pursuit of the sub-4 mile in 2005. It was called "Four Minutes" and I think it was made for t.v. It didn't come close to conveying the excitement and drama presented in the book.

Bannister is famous for a workout involving 10 repetitions of 400 meters at Goal Mile pace with a short, consistent break between intervals. I think he ran 10x400 at 59 seconds each shortly before running his sub-4 mile.So, I'm borrowing a page from Bannister and making my Fridays 'Bannister Days'. I haven't been consistent with my speed work in a while so I'll build up to 10x400m over several weeks. For now, I'll start at 6x400m at goal pace. (My goal is 5:00, so each 400m will be in 1:15.)

Goal For The Day: Bannister Repeats
Distance: 3.50 Miles
Time: 6 x 400m (1:14 each)
Route: Eureka H.S. Track
Conditions: 80 degrees/humid. 7:45AM.

Notes: 1Mile jogging warm-up. 6 x 400m (1:14 each). 1Mile jogging cool-down. I hate running 400's. They're always uncomfortable. I noticed my upper body tenses up when I start to struggle so I tried to focus on keeping my arms relaxed and my stride smooth. #4 was particularly good for some reason. #6 was particularly rough. Checked my time at 200m each interval and was right on each time. One of my most consistent days as far as pace goes.

I had another rough night of sleep last night. I might have a sinus infection. Lots of gross drainage made for several sleepless hours in the middle of the night. I felt better this morning and even better after my run. Everything I've read says it's okay to run through a cold as long as you don't have a fever. For the most part, I've found running seems to help things like this clear up faster. We'll see how it goes, but for now, I could use a nap.

Daily Miles: 3.50
Total Blog Miles: 7.50

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Morning Run

I'm not a big fan of getting up early to run. My body just doesn't feel like it functions as well in the morning. I would much rather burn off some stress late in the day. But life is full of other demands on our time so the morning is the most convenient time to get my training in. I haven't been good about getting up lately, but I made it out the door today!

Liz and I went to the gym Tuesday after work and I somehow hurt my shoulder and/or neck and I was pretty uncomfortable yesterday. Turning my head to the left was especially difficult. I found that I was most uncomfortable when I tried to lie down so I haven't slept very well the past two nights. I woke up this morning feeling much better but tired. I didn't get out the door as early as I would have liked, but at least I got my morning run in.

I ran the Minneapolis Marathon on June 5th so I already have a good mileage base built up. For the next month or so, I plan to focus more on increasing speed and then I can build mileage again in August, September, and October. So Thursdays will be 'Middle Distance' days and today's plan was 4 Miles.

Goal For The Day: Middle Distance
Distance: 4.00 Miles
Time: 28:27. 7:06 avg. (7:30, 6:49, 7:06, 6:59)
Route: Old Town Eureka Loop
Conditions: 68 degrees/humid. 7:15AM.

Notes: Today was fine and fairly unremarkable. I tried for negative splits but I was inconsistent. It was a cool morning but surprisingly humid. I passed an old man who looked like he was out for some exercise of his own as he limped/walked past McDonald's. He laughed at me running by and said, "Don't break the speed limit!" I've received a lot of comments from people when I'm out running, but that was a first.

Total Blog Miles: 4.00

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Runners to your marks...

Goal For The Day: Start a Blog.

Another blog.

If history is any indication, I'll stick with posting for a few days and then forget about it for months. But I think that's the point of this blog... to break old habits.

Since 2001, I've run 16 marathons in 7 different states. For years, I've been trying to qualify for Boston. At this point, running the Boston Marathon doesn't even mean as much to me as reaching that magic 3:10 mark. I've come close a couple of times (3:15 in Cincinnatti 2010), but haven't been able to break that barrier. At times, I felt I was in shape to qualify but race-day circumstances made for a tough day. Other times, I've started my training with enthusiasm only to slack off in later months and show up to race day less than prepared for a 3:10 attempt.

Besides qualifying for Boston, one of my goals is to run a marathon in each of the 50 states. So far, I've crossed off Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Ohio, California, Florida, and most recently Minnesota. I decided that I would like to run the New York Marathon and I'd heard how difficult it can be to get in. I knew that if you entered the lottery three years in a row without getting chosen, you're automatically allowed entry on the fourth year. So, this spring, I decided I should start entering the lottery so I can run New York in a few years. As luck would have it, I was chosen on my first try! In November, I'll be running the New York Marathon!!!
Several of my more recent marathons have been in uncomfortably warm weather. I have a hard time running in the heat and I can feel myself falling apart in the later miles of the marathon when the temperature is in the 80's. I'm assuming that the weather in New York will be cool in November (if not downright cold!) so I decided this is as good of an opportunity as any to really make a push for 3:10.

My hope is that writing in this blog will help me stay motivated four months from now when I'm putting in the serious mileage and having trouble getting out of bed in the morning to run. I plan to log my daily workouts and any thoughts or epiphanies I have during my training. Ideally, I'll cross the finish line in November and be able to look back at this blog as a record of how I finally broke the 3:10 barrier.